tv Prime News HLN November 12, 2009 5:00pm-7:00pm EST
you can go back to the covers slide. this is using counterinsurgency concepts. can they be applied in afghanistan? yes, the importance of securing the population and helping afghans develop a government seen as legitimate and worthy of their support, at promoting reintegration of reconcilables, so that individuals on the fence or voting against the government can be enabled. .
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] the has that type of depth of knowledge and appreciation of local situations that enables you in an intelligent manner been we are not trying to turn afghanistan into sweden. this is trying to help them establish the traditional, social organizing structures that have governed the country in "to a degree" so that there is a process of, with their afghan partners, building up
from the bottom as you are building up from the center. >> his area of responsibility is the 20 nations which includes its axis of anxiety. the five stones that were part of the former soviet union, the arab states on the arabian peninsula over to egypt -- >> yes. he did to -- egypt to pop a stun [unintelligible] -- egypt to pakistan [unintelligible] >> speaking of the analogy to afghanistan, let me put the question to you this way. i think you said that, when you went into iraq, you did not consider it a long shot, certainly not a guarantee of success, but you have a lot of things that you understood that should work force in a pretty effective way and there was a
bit -- for work for us in a pretty effective way and there should be some success. is that a fair way of thinking of afghanistan? or is a much harder problem with poor prospects of success? >> it is a much different problem. you have no direct analogy as well as they vietnam analogy now you have the iraq -- now you have the iraq analogy as well as the vietnam analogy and somalia and others. frankly, iraq had a number of unique challenges. 53 dead bodies every 24 hours in the streets of baghdad in december 2006 just from sectarian violence, that is a pretty tough situation. we used to get questions. whenever they want to start passing legislation?
-- when are they going to start passing legislation? this was a survival mode. when i went into the investigation for secretary rumsfeld, i said, look, if this is going to be long. it is because of the relative lack of the developed institutions, cuban capital, experience with strong central government, -- human capital, experience with strong central government, that would make it difficult in light of 35 years of war. as we have looked at that, it is really hard to get additional forces compared to what we were able to do in iraq. we put 6000 additional troops in iraq for each of five straight months.
that is an extraordinary logistical accomplishment. but we had kuwait. we had really good infrastructure. and we were able very rapidly to build that up. there were enormous challenges in that respect in afghanistan. but the enemy has challenges building up as well. there was a very good article several weeks ago that talked about how the taliban has regenerated, reconnected in these communities where they were dispersed to after having been defeated in 2001. they gradually came back together and gradually put their foot back in the water and came back from the winter and all the rest. over time, they reestablished the infrastructure, rebuilt cell structures to the point where it is 33 of 34 provinces have a shadow government. that has outstripped the efforts
of isa force is being built over time. we have to get ahead of that, regain the initiative, and so forth, along with our afghan partners increase situation where those partners can developed adequately so that, over time, it can be transitioned to them. >> query couple of reasons, in your eyes, for carted -- >> what are a couple of reasons, in your eyes, for guarded optimism? water a couple of things that you highlight is going for us -- what are a couple of things that you highlight as going for us? >> i have done this once before. i am not an optimist. i am not a pessimist. i am a realist. the reality in afghanistan is that it is hard all the time. first of all, our forces have
learned a great deal about irregular warfare, about the conduct of counterinsurgency operations, about every component of it, the precision, the diffusion of intelligence, the deployment of this vast array of unmanned vehicles that we now have helping us and a host of other enablers that do so much for us. in our conventional forces are better and interact with populations. obviously, we have to learn more about this population over time. needless to say, we have been emphasizing that a great deal, in addition to the particular focus that has come over the last couple of years or so. there is infrastructure. there has been a lot of engagement. there are some quite good ministers that have been established, by and large, that
most folks recognize as being very competent. for example, the minister of finance, of interior, of defense, and the number of others. there is the gradual development of some institutional structure. to be sure, some of those institutions have to be cleaned up. president karzai has readily recognized and acknowledged the need to reduce levels of corruption and so forth. there's no question about that. again, there is some of that there appeared there is an international community that is heavily engaged. we went back to iraq and there were no ngo's. they all left. the unami left for a while after a tragic explosion killed a representative in 2003. there are some important develop
-- some important developments that can be viewed. beyond that, you have some instances where you think that counterinsurgency has been carried out properly with their afghan partners and we even see some nascent progress beginning to progress to give you a sense that this is what you can do, that over time you can, indeed, the nine the taliban the access to or control -- deny the taliban the access to or control over these areas where iraqi institutions can be developed. >> [unintelligible] i am going to preface by saying that i discovered that from a short trip to afghanistan myself. one of the things that i was encouraged by was that them even though we see a culture of much
corruption and cin kabul, one of the things those incurred spy aencouraged by was that, when we followed general mcchrystal's idea for major -- for every major afghan unit there is a nato unit, it gives us information about those units better not doing so well. then we have a relationship with the minister's of interior and defense to lead his way in and ask us for help in changes necessary. that is a level of addressing corruption at the ground level.
hopefully, it is much better than addressing a at the core let -- at the karzai level. is that fair to say? >> this has not been -- yes. this has not been done before. i have noted, when josi was a captain [unintelligible] he is an extraordinary officer. he has an enormous amount of experience in afghanistan, as well as iraq. yes, it was with the counterterrorist standing taskforce. he is a full partner in 18 of their, the multinational force iraq. -- in of the team therthe team e
multinational force iraq. of course, we have 670,000 iraqi security force members with whom we know partner. this is a substantial force. but, remember, we did go through the process that you talk about. the national police, tragically, in the fall of 2006 and into early 2007, were literally hijacked by the militia. over time, the iraqi government had to replace the national police commander, both division commanders, all nine brigade commanders, 72% to 80% of the brigade's. that was an enormous effort. but that partnership, the level of knowledge about the organization's was what helped us be able to go to the
ministry of interior and saidy, this guy is completely compromised or ineffective and working against what it is we're trying to do together. again, this partnership effort is extremely important. you read into that the civil piece of this work, where you can achieve security, the civilians command, the agricultural development teams of the national guard coming, and then everyone works together in a quite integrated structure, trying to achieve the kinds of cooperation and fusion, actually, that crocker and i were able to achieve in a baghdad. general mcchrystal is like a nato commander. the ambassador of the embassy of
the country that provides 7% or more of the overall aid and assistance, but still not completely civilian counterpart, in the sense of the nato commander, that is something that has to be addressed and has been a topic of discussion at some of the sessions we have had in the white house. >> we're getting close to the time for audience participation. i do want to was one question about pakistan before we go to the group. although, i want to quickly mentioned that i remember reading that some of the days of difficuldifficulties in iraq, 'e taking some inspiration from the civil war. in the revolutionary war at valley forge, he is reminded that his predecessors had it difficult as well. >> 90 -- sentence and six was not a great year as well.
-- 1776 was not a great year as well. >> i want to was about pakistan. obviously, there has been a remarkable year in pakistan with incredible amount of developments. the military is getting very serious about some areas. at the same time, we are seeing the resistance retaliate with car bombs and it has been terrible in the last few weeks with the violence against the civilian population. how do you feel overall about pakistan? >> the bumper sticker is heartening but tough. i held the bumper sticker for several months. we have said that, as pakistan remains serious and continues to build on the progress it achieved and as they launched
the operations getting close to their final objectives, the enemy is good to fight back. when you go to their safe havens, they come after you appeared they try to open up new areas. that has always been the case. we have seen that. we also saw, before they started, they're going into now what is the reorganization control by to look masoobaitull. you have to go after the network. you have to get left of the boom. have to say after that. it stems to a point, some 10 months ago, when the pakistani citizen ring, political leaders,
-- pakistan citizenry, political leaders, and clerks came to recognize together, at the same time, that the extremists in the north frontier province were threatening the very existence of pakistan. you had, for the first time, a recognition that the existence of a threat to the country is the internal extremists, not necessarily india. that is not to say that that threat has gone away in their estimates. but the threat that is most immediate was the internal extremists. they have acted on that. the only have they acted, but have done so with considerable skill. pakistani military cleared and left swat valley twice since 9/11. this time they have cleared and they stayed. they're holding and they are building.
with counterinsurgency, amateurish clear, you put a [unintelligible] they took very good care of the refugees. we were all amazed that such a vast number, probably at least 85% or 90% of the internally displaced persons, were able to get back into their homes. was not quite before the monsoon season gets started, but it was around there. there was a substantial amount of fertile ground because of the enormous social challenges, the poverty, the lack of it -- the lack of education, the increased number of old truck, ultra
conservative mudra says -- number of old trunk, ultra- conservative mudra sadsdsas. pakistan needs and deserves a sustained substantial commitment from our country and the rest of the world. it is important, not just for the region, but for the entire world. there are muslims that have very strong ties to western countries. >> i know we will have a chance to thank general petraeus on behalf of the entire military that he leads. i want to thank you personnel for the honor of this conversation.
>> i want to take audience questions. i just want to put one question to you. >> why did i guess that? i have known her since she was then mtr. >> you and i had a conversation mid-surge. you're talking about not only the military tactics, but you used the phrase "suitcases full of cash." translate the analogy to afghanistan. obviously, we're talking about a much more diffuse place. what is the leverage, not just military, but political, certainly economic, that u.s. forces can use here? >> we always were very explicit about many as ammunition. the assertion that we bought off the insurgents is misplaced. we promoted and supported
reconciliation in a truly serious way for the first time when we got into the surge in iraq. frankly, we tried reconciliation as early as 2003. we supported iraqi condit [unintelligible] on for some, those were never approved by the iraqi-led the best vacation -- iraqi-led deba sification. the head tens of thousands. of worked with no future and no hope and -- you had tens of thousands put out of work with the future and no hope. there was an attempt at
reconciliation in 2005. sadly, those sheiks ended up being killed. of the effects of it when not seen until later. the moment we embrace it, it started to takeoff. that was very important. initially, it took off without her cash. it took off with just are saying, we will protect you. >> can you translate that model? >> if you look at afghanistan, sometimes the most important element you can provide to them is the legitimacy for a community defense initiative. it may not require cash. it could be some means of communication that allows them to link to very quick reaction forces, a district center, or
even a province capital. not just securing, but mobilizing the population, getting them engaged in the process so that you can help them the sense that -- defended themselves against the extremist elements have tried to reestablish control over the country as the taliban tres to reassert itself and has been reasserting itself, you can help with the traditional tribal leaders, again, try to retain their position or be restored to their position by protecting them from the irreconcilables and allowing these individuals to help protect themselves without bringing back warlords are these large proxy armies that were in various places of the country. >> i m john gallagher -- i am john gallagher. you mentioned piracy.
there has been a significant increase in pirate attacks, and particularly of the coast of somalia. what is your general assessment? where do you see the u.s.'s role in protecting special interest? >> first of all, your assessment is correct. about a year or so ago, it really wrapped up. then it came down. the pirates have adjusted to our tactics. we identified, told the milli, which the mother ships were. these are -- with identified, ultimately, which the mother ships were. these are much larger ships that were several miles out.
they attacked those who are not prepared even monthly to defend themselves against pirates. then they went to open skiffs and they toady smaller skiff. these are extraordinary. these are open vessels, 50 feet long, full of 55 gallon drums of fuel way off the coast. they it are 700 nautical miles off the coast of somalia. they can get unsuspecting ships. we think the shipping companies themselves have to take greater measures. you probably know the u.s. coast guard, after we had a big conference lester, issued instructions to -- conference last year, issued instructions to u.s. flag ships.
we determined that, if you follow three simple rules, you dramatically reduce the chances of piracy. the first is, if you see a power trip, speed up. i'm not making these up. we have a actually issue them and secondly, if a part ship approaches to, take evasive action. there was a 100 ton supertanker, larger than an aircraft carrier, it was taken down by a small ship. you have to have a look at out there thato see. it is so -- is also automated know, that you didn't even see that there is a pirate on board. number three, these ships have letters on them for the pilots. eight tugboats comes up to them
as it enters a port. -- eight tugboat comes up to them as it enters the report. -- a tugboat comes up to them as it enters the port. the use has recommended further measures that include defensive measures, even, in some cases, legal anti-boarding parties. the shipping companies generally have seen the says the cost of doing business. that was part of the problem. became a transaction. they saw this as a three-week delay. you drop a ransom to the pilots from a plane and they let the ship go on. we have to break that as well. the real root of the problem is that, even to capture the paris, and we only have the authority -- even if you capture the pirates, and we only have the authority with police with the knowledge of criminal. you cannot just kill them on
sight. the rules of engagement are quite restrictive. that is an international law issue that the international community has to address at some time it did was to get more serious about this problem. beyond that, the authorities in somalia does not exist. if you have a part, you want to turn them over to attorneys for trial. you need to find an authority that will hold onto of love and then it will take us to -- hold onto him long enough that it takes us to raise anchor. >> in terms of what i've understand what some of the enemies policies are now, which may be preventing them from going to harvard, where some of us went, and maybe even to princeton, with that happening, would david petraeus be here
now? what is known to have been in the future if we follow some policy that perhaps mr. >> were these great officers go to school? >> -- perhaps restricts where these great boxers go to school? -- perhaps restricts where these great officers go to school? >> i do not think this is limited or that what we're doing has limited those opportunities. so many individuals have so much operational combat experience. they have such credentials. they can easily afford a number of years off, going to graduate school, teaching at west point, or what have you. we have also tried to break up that process so that you do not have a five years or six years out of your branch and spend
them as a senior lieutenant or young captain. the price of a beloved more appeared we think that is a pretty good route as well -- that breaks it up a little bit as well. we think that is a pretty good wrote. -- we think that is a pretty good route. [unintelligible] we were having a hard time getting them into the staff colleges because of the number of forces that were committed. the army has grown. the marine corps has grown. i was at leavenworth earlier this week.
in an audio up -- in an auditorium that seats two thousand people, every seat was full. the two classes that are out there were filled in just about to capacity. that is a good indicator that we have gone back into the rhythm of enabling individuals to go to the professional military education and there are lots of revenues to go to grad school, too. keep mentoring them and keep encouraging them, as i know you do. uno is a great opportunity. -- i know it is a great opportunity. >> as division commander, did to the commanders at fort hood missed the signs? >> we're talking about a case that is under study. so i probably should not get into that. i think you're talking about 1
illegit individual. -- one alleged individual. i have to be very careful about that. when you have a case that is ongoing that could end up in the jurisdiction of what is called the uniform code of military justice, senior leaders have to be very careful not to prejudice a case by what they say publicly or privately. >> since you brought up the word "prejudice," that seems to have brought in an issue of whether the military culture, whether the army culture was adequately prepared to handle the idea of muslim soldiers fighting against moslems. -- muslim soldiers fighting against muslims. >> it does not matter your religion or your race or color is.
people understand that, when you take an oath of office for commission or enlistment, they are swearing to uphold the constitution of the united states and obey the orders of the united states and the officers of the marines. so i think that is pretty clear. >> we had a question in the back over here. >> [unintelligible] >> i would like to get a question from a nonmember of the press. >> [unintelligible] we are increasingly fighting with allied forces in different venues around the world. yet we're the only country with the exception of the u.k. that
does not have eccentric warfare. what are we doing, should we do to get more procurements overseas to build up their network-centric capabilities so that we do not have to do all the war fighting? >> i want to correct a term that i never felt was accurate. warfare is not network-centric. it is commander-centric. that commander is enabled by networks. this is a hugely important concept if you approach it that way. in fact, when i came home from iraq the second time and went out to fort leavenworth, which is also in charge of air combat training centers and the simulation centers and also do the high level exercises, we did some major overhauls. we were a bit to network- and staff-centric. anyone who actually commanded in
combat, which we had not been in several decades, realized that it is actually about the commander who is unable by the network. it is a very powerful tool. as you know, they're real breakthrough in recent years is not any one particular technological development or a break fthrough and intelligence network. [unintelligible] the establishment in iraq and now in afghanistan of infusion centers that bring together all of the intelligence agencies, a special mission units, special forces, coalition elements, all in the same room without walls and require them to work together. we have a huge challenge in
afghanistan. any where we are working with coalition partners, i think we have 16 different networks that terminate in the new isaf headquarters. in one sense, but it is outrageous and, in another sense, it is reasonable. you're always trying to get the big ideas right. strategically, you get paid to figure out what the big ideas are and committed them to the organization, oversee the implementation, and figure out what best lessons are best practices are that you're learning and progress them. you have to start with the concept of need to share rather
than need to know. if the intelligence analysts rate the report in the beginning with a sense of sharing it as widely as possible as opposed to making it the perfect document that can only be released to one or five partners or what have you, you have a breakthrough. so we have to do that conceptually. with respect to how you spell that to other countries, i think that other countries have really seen -- with respect to how you spread the that to other countries, i think that other countries really have seen the value. it is true that the united states spends more than the other countries put together in that regard. that is the cellist that they have. >> let's get -- that is the challenge that they have appeared >> let's get a question for one more person. >> could you give us a frank
appraisal of the contribution and the performance of your allies in the region? >> first of all, i very much subscribe to winston churchill's comment that the only thing worse than allies is having no waallies. we really do not want to go it alone. we need as many coalition partners as we can get. people think that, if afghanistan is the first place where forces have a caveat on them, that is not so at all. there have always been conditions in the employment of various forces. i used to have a matrix on mudd's square on one side was the different countries -- on my desk where one side was the
different countries and the other were the duties. you literally had to pick and choose and figure out which ones -- there were only a couple of countries that were willing to allow their forces to be employed for the full spectrum of operations all around the country. that is still the case. but it was the case in iraq, but away. again, there's a sense in iraq, we had in significant limitations. you just learned how to work around that as a commander. i think that is frankly the situation that we are in. there's no question but that there are several countries who are very much fighting and some take in disproportionate number of casualties given the size of the force that they have in afghanistan. then others are not the same.
that is something that you work through. you can certainly raise it. you can make progress with it. secretary gates has been fairly effective in some of that. at the end of the day, there are going to be limitations and there are going to be some countries that seem to be, in a sense, freeloading, if you will, on the sacrifice of the main coalition partners. that, again, unfortunately, is reality. >> we have one market >>more. >> [unintelligible] do see any light of the and it -- to use the lead at the end of the tunnel with respect to
the iran? >> the interesting dynamic in the region is that the best recruiting officer in our area of responsibility is president ahmadinejad. he is, literally, unbelievable, outrageous, provocative, and so forth. the actions of the iran has resulted, in some countries, that used to give us the heisman and kept us at arm's length, they are now jumping into our arms when it comes to activities like shared early warnings, air and missile defense, and a host of other different activities, and certainly in terms of procurement. if you want to talk about procurement, there is a country in our region that has $18 billion worth of business this year.
it is $9 billion in foreign military sales and $9 billion domestically. it is largely due because of the concerns -- is largely because of the concerns created by iran. [unintelligible] a the efforts in the nuclear arena to enable a decision made by the supreme leader, to enable the decision to be made at some point to establish nuclear weapons and have the means to deliver them -- all of
this causes great concern. the initiatives that are ongoing through diplomacy, using the iaea, if there was an agreement on may 1,200 kilograms of low enriched uranium going to a third country and being used for a nuclear reactor, that would require the steps. but the prospects are challenging, i think, at best. >> mike, i woke willing to throw in one more question or to sum up -- i will allow you to throw when one more question or to sum up. >> i wondered if there is a new level of american efforts that needs to be considered in terms of either our support for their
military reform effort for their economic recovery that is beginning to emerge? we sometimes heard vice president biden and others emphasize the importance of this country, which you have, to, but to do even more than we are even now. [unintelligible] >> again, the bumper sticker is sustained substantial commitment. part of that has to be literally reassurance. let's remember our history with this country. it is a country that we have left a couple of times, arguably, in the lurch. it is a country whose leaders will remind you of repression. that was a 12-year cut off. there is a lost generation that we are trying to reestablish ties with and so forth.
again, we have to keep that in mind. i think they carry leader bill is very important. it is $1.5 billion in various funds for economic assistance. that is each year for the next five years. that is sustained substantial commitment. on the military side, we're doing some more between $1.5 billion and $2 billion towards military financing and security systems and other commitments. >> per year? >> yes. a substantial amount. and, there is a variety of assistance provided to them. the reality is that the pakistanis are doing the fighting. looking at the casualty
statistics, as i mentioned earlier, doing a very good job in the conduct of hotter no comprehensive counterinsurgency operations in those areas in which they are operating. is very important and it's very much deserves our support and it is a very important country to the entire world. again, that is something that has been in the discussions rightfully. that commitment is what we're now seeing. >> thank you, john petraeus. i want to quote a connectiomutud of ours. never have we asked so much of so few. i want to thank you very much. [applause]
>> next, we have remarks ofrom senator jeff sessions. after that, we have more on the discussion on government and the redistribution of wealth. tonight, we have a briefing from the cdc on the age 1 and once one flew blamed for 3900 deaths -- on the ag 1 and h1n1 swine fu blamed for 39 deaths in the u.s. -- blamed for 3900 deaths in the u.s. the senate is back on monday to continue work on 2010 spending for military construction and the veterans affairs department. they're expected to take votes on an amendment and motion to commit offered by oklahoma
concepts that we value. i do remember the founding of the society in 1982. since that time, you served as a bulwark for the timeless principles of the freedom of judicial restraint, separation of powers, and ordered liberty. you recognize that a sound legal philosophy objectively executed is the source of our freedom and prosperity. i remember during the sotomayor hearinsggs, she had made a speech in which she said about law and the difficulty of judging that there is no objectivity. just a series of perspectives.
that still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. the federalist society's leadership and defense of our constitution is more critical now than ever before. we just cannot let up. i hope that you will leave this conference with a new -- with a renewed passion. if it is certainly a pleasure for me to be here to share with you some of my thoughts, for what they're worth, when the challenges that we face. i would like to begin by telling three short stories. a speaker warrants the pastor of that mentioning jesus christ has been banned by court order.
in a midwestern town, a teenage girl speaks a the abortion and admits that she knows very little of what is involved. despite a state law on the books for seven years requiring doctors to inform patients of the realities that exist for abortion. for seven years, a judge has blocked that statute, even though similar laws have been found constitutional by a number of courts. a criminal defendant has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, but the judge has taken the unusual step. he has unexpectedly prepared the record just in case an appeal for clemency is filed. the 32-year-old defendant had just pled guilty to videotaping his sexual activities with two
girls ages 16 and 17. what do these stories have in common? is president obama's nomination for the seventh quarter of appeals. the question for our confirmation always is, i think, whether their personal political illogical views will overcome their commitment to the law. political ideological views will overcome their commitment to the law. he worked for acorn, was the primary litigator for the
indiana aclu. he has argued that judges need to empathize with the parties to better understand the effects of their ruling. why did i mention hamilton? because judge hamilton was present obama's symbolic first big as it was president obama's symbolic first pick to the federal bench. i make these points to illustrate how much has changed since your last meeting. elections have consequences. today, we find ourselves, i think, at a little crossroads. we are in a struggle tand whethein whether it will remainn
the current form. no matter what anybody says the president bush, it is indisputable that he nominated to the bench highly talented judges that were competent and faithful to the law. they believe that judges may maintain an inflexible and uniformed adherence to the rights of the constitution. the current administration does not share that commitment. they so badly desire to transform american society that they endangered politicizing all issues, including the courts. in doing so, they are hopefully
unaware that they are risking the very moral authority of the law. that ultimately is what is the law in its power. the crossroads we face is president obama's said that the standards, which he has reaffirmed repeatedly with the court's criteria he has to fill vacancies on the federal bench. according to the president, the critical ingredient for judges is the depth and breadth of their empathy as well as their broader vision of what america should be. this is a stunning declaration, i think, to those of us who dedicated our professional lives to the law. this standard stings the years. to the president, the constitution, i would argue, is
no longer the supreme law of the land. control by the judges for societal change and political transformation, this is what i call a call for activism. to a administered justice without respect to persons, to do equal right to the poor and the rich, and to act faithfully and impartially under the constitution the laws of the united states is replaced by a new approach. this new approach freeze the lifetime appointed [unintelligible]
and permit him to involve long to achieve their desired outcome. in short, the empathy standard is a politically new, but carefully chosen codeword for the bold and brazen judicial activism. consider the words of justice so my yousotomayor. in her speeches, she repeatedly said that it was right and natural that a judge's opinions, sympathies, and prejudices would influence their decision making and for their personal experiences to affect the facts the judge chooses to see. in other words, the judges should not weigh the scales of justice with a blindfold, but
rather with their fingers pressed on the scale. this is the fatal flaw of empathy. empathy for one party can only be prejudiced against the other. is that justice? is that consistent with the great ideals of american law? if we follow the road paved by the end of the standard, if we abandon the legacy of objective truth is prudence rooted firmly in the constitution and our legal heritage, we risk losing not only are magnificent legal system, but the very liberties our founders built that system to protect. it created a system that is to be independent, impartial, restrained. all judges need to be committed to these ideals. courts cannot fairly judge laws if they have a hand in the making of them. nor can they be counted on to curb the excesses of power if they share in it.
today, we see that alexander hamilton's fears were not unfounded. even as the president nominates activists to the bench, judges are now setting national policy based on their views, i think. we have already seen judges declaring that the words "under guide" be removed from the pledge of allegiance and -- unde"under god" be removed from the pledge of allegiance. judges have them -- judges have dismissed people's rights to their property saying that they can take people's homes for the purpose of developing a private shopping center so that the city can collect more revenue. [unintelligible]
the constitution passed in 1789. to regulate global warming, the court found that the clear and it -- that the clean air act of 1970, before global warning was a gleam in summit design -- note -- in somebody's eye -- [laughter] now they see carbon dioxide, plant food, as a pollutant. the effect is to give eta huge power over our economy, a power that congress never would have given in 1970 and would not vote for today. .
the other path leads us to a rejection of those values and principles and a continued slide to the post-modern society, a brave new world, where words and facts no longer have a real meeting. when words are bereft of meaning, no right, no liberty is safe -- no longer have a real meaning. the greatest political document ever created, our constitution. politics rules every corner of the government, and where the legacy of american exceptional
as of 1 3-d toy and sacrifice of american heroes through every generation slowly slipped away -- american accept journalism -- exceptional islism won through e toil and sacrifice of american heroes through every generation slowly slipped away. even justice sotomayor was quick to distance herself from her activist record and statements and the empathy standard announced by the president to select her. what? because under the cold light of day, i think she knew it cannot be defended as an opera ball judicial philosophy. it will not hold up. american people want judges to follow the law, not make it.
who put principles before politics. and you put what the constitution says before what they wish it said. simply put, americas wanted judges in the mold and visions of alexander hamilton, not david hamilton -- americans want judges in the mold of alexander hamilton. i am sure they will be able to handle the job on the bench. but i also believe that this extends only as far as the nominee is committed and faithful to the constitution and laws of this country, the laws and constitution they are sworn to uphold. some say our concerns are exaggerated and imaginary. i do not think so. i cannot and will not allow easy confirmation of an individual
who seeks a lifetime appointment to use that power of office to advance their own social or political agenda. i cannot and will not cast my vote in favor of a judge who will put his own prejudices and politics on higher mantle then the law, the facts, and objective truth. -- than the law, the facts, and the objective tree. -- truth. when a judge alters the meeting of the words of the constitution to affect a result the judge would be like to see -- would like to see, is not all of our liberties place at greater risk? so the road ahead will not be easy. again, the fight will be long. it will be tough. it will require strength and intellectual rigort( to see it through, but it is a fight we can win.
we will win. [applause] ñrand it is a fact that i am prd to stand with your shoulder to shoulder every step of the way. thank you so much. -- stan would you shoulder to shoulder, every step of the way -- stand with you. [applause] >> we have a few minutes before we move into our first plenty recession, said the senator has agreed to stay with us -- into our first session. there are microphones on the side aisles, people who wish to ask questions and line up, and
then the senator will field them. >> while people are gathering, i just want to say i appreciate the great team we have on the judiciary committee. we are outnumbered 12-7. that is a huge majority on a committee in the senate. you have got great constitutional lawyers. we study these issues, like orrin hatch, jon kyl, lindsey graham, and we have only got two non lawyers, tom coburn and chuck grassley, who has got inside from the real world, and i was proud of them in the work they did in creating the kind of discussion we would like to have on the sotomayor nomination. questions? yes?
>> the obama administration has not really sent up a tremendous number of nominations, particularly the courts of appeals. i understand there is a proposal to pack the lower court, so to speak, by increasing the number of appellate and district court judges. where are those going this year and next year? >> i think we need to question that very aggressively, the expansion of a number of judges. my staff people give me these notes almost every day, because we get complaints about it. there are 21 circuit court vacancies. there have been 11 nominations by the obama administration. there are 75 district vacancies. only 10 nominations have been submitted to the senate. we have confirmed seven. and you hear them whine and
wail about how they are being held up. so my opinion is if we get a nominee that is not a good nominee, we will resist, and if it is a nominee that is not capable of handling that office, -- one that is able to do that i think will move forward. we have testimony that the caseload of the federal court had increased, district courts, 27% since 1990. that sounded at first bad, but then i was thinking that was not so bad. i would have thought it was a lot worse than that, and we know that i think the highest caseload circuit is the 11th circuit, my circuit, in florida, alabama, and georgia, and they do not want any more judges.
they say they can handle the caseload and maintain collegiality better, so i have real -- of course, federal judges have more clerks, more computers, the magistrates do more work, more cases are being planned. -- pled. 97% or 90% of cases plea today, civil cases, too -- 97% or 98%. othat number of cases pead today. >> not being able to take the job because they cannot afford the pay cut. anything about the salaries so that they will not take a pay cut?
>> not from me. [laughter] we got plenty of applications, it seems, when nominations, . i am kidding. -- when nominations come up. i said, judge, can you live on the pay? do not take it if you cannot. i was kind of kidding, and then one month went by, and he was asking for a pay raise, and he reminded me carefully that he did not promise not to ask, and there is no rule against asking. i wish we could just give everybody what we would like to give them, but we cannot. the deficit this country has this year -- remember bush was attacked for a stint -- spending. this year, we just finished
september 30, $1.40 trillion. the total debt last year of the country, public debt, the hard- core public debt that we are outside was $5.70 trillion from the founding of the republic. in five years, according to the cbo scored a president obama's budget, and this does not include health care, it would be a $11.70 trillion, doubled, and it will triple in 10 years be and the conservatives have said they are going to freeze pay -- in 10 years. the conservatives of said they are going to freeze pay. i think we have seen nothing like this flood of debt, and all of us are going to have to ask ourselves what we're going to do, and i think the government
people are going to have to take some leadership role in containing what we do, but i understand. yes? >> senator, could you comment on talking a little bit about your views and the constitutionality of but a federal mandate that every citizen of the united states purchase health care and the upcoming debate in the senate? a good opportunity to talk to the citizens about the constitution as a limitation on the federal government's power? >> i think that is a good question. as a matter of fact, attorney general -- they do a great job.
we were talking, and do you know what i said, leonard? i said we should ask folks what they think, too. we should think what is the constitutional fanthing. can the government require you to do what is in your best interests if you do not think it is in your best interests? an interstate commerce, i do not know what connection, so it will be an interesting question to think about, and if any of you are aware of research on it, we would love to hear it. >> senator, as a prosecutor from north carolina, i am concerned about the change of the makeup of the fourth circuit, and in light of that, what is senator leahy's position as applies to
the circuit judges? >> well, they were able to block and maintain vacancies for a number of years. gray davis, as a prosecutor, just confirmed. there were a series, think, of five of his criminal cases that were not good, all reversed by the circuit -- and it bothered me a good bit. the more i studied it, the more bothered i was, so i do think they do have a desire to enlighten the fourth circuit and make it better, and it looks like law enforcement, mr. prosecutor, is not one of their high priorities in this deal. with regard to blue slips, the rules still apply on district judges, that home state senators
have the ability to object and affected the block a nominee if they think they are unfit, but that is not a pleasant thing to do. -- , state senators have the ability to object and effectively block a nominee -- home state senators. has there been any change, are you aware of, with regard to the blue slip on the nominees, where you of multiple states involved? >> [unintelligible] >> he was just saying that he has respect of that process since he has been on another -- the other side and number of
times, as we all have. we will be wrestling -- the other side a number of times. the filibuster, judge's thinking it is not a good thing. -- judges thinking it is not a good thing. the democrats did not filibuster then. we never filibuster did during the clinton years. -- we never filibustered during the clinton years. i would vote for cloture, and then we would vote against the nominee. that was the pattern, and the democrats railed, accusing them about slowing it down. they were filibustering, but if you remember in 2000, you all need to know this.
some of you may need to be reminded. the democrats had a conference after bush got elected seven no longer will clinton be nominating, bush would be nominated, so they met with a few people, cass sunstein, and they made a proposal to change the ground rules, and within months, once switched parties, and they had the majority, -- one at switched parties. -- one swticheitched parties. they confirmed them and blocked all of the rest of them, but years went by. one of the seats was the fourth circuit seat that they just felt, nine years vacant, and they filibustered systematically.
it was months before they were attacking republicans for filibustering, and they were leading filibusters, so that went on, and we had the stamina -- fabulous nominees that were being blocked. we worked and worked and worked for two years and finally got the american people engaged. the pressure kept building. they're all of the fabulous nominees who were being blocked, and they finally broke. the way it happened was the gang of 14, and they said, well, you should not filibuster except in extraordinary cases, and so, we have got about five or six of that group through of the eight or 10 that were being blocked, so i am kind of of the view that i guess that is the new rule.
normally, we do not filibuster, but if extraordinary circumstances exist, i suspect that is where we are going to come out. we just have to live with the way it works. unilaterally disarm. making sure the process works. leonard, good to be with you. thanks to all of you for what you do. [applause] >> after senators session spoke, there was talk of the redistribution of wealth. on this panel, steve forbes. this is one hour 40 minutes. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
it is a great honor to be here. we are beginning this convention with a very narrow topic. it is called the redistribution of wealth. [laughter] the panelists are going to have to sort of self-defined in a -- self-define it. we have assembled a panel here whom we expect will be in perfect harmony and agreement. [laughter] if you believe that, you have not entirely welcome up this morning, but i am very pleased to be moderating such a distinguished group of panelists here. and we were discussing this
panel. my friend richard said we want real short intro's. the other thing he said is that we want to have the professors go first because when indienne steve cantu, all new ones will be lost -- when andy and steve get into it, all nuance will be lost. i had respect and admiration to all of you have done, and it did not seem possible to reduce it to 15 seconds. our first speaker is a professor of law at yale law school. he has written innumerable articles and books, including
some on constitutional law and a theory of constitutional self- government. his work 7 translated into more than 34 languages -- his works have been translated into more than 30 languages. one person told me that we are so lucky to read the professor -- to have the professor, as it was his favorite professor at yale. when you kick it off? -- would you kitson off? -- kick it off? >> thank you. i know my role on this panel is to make the entire redistribution -- the anti- redistribution speech.
i do not think it exists. i have to say something strange, right? let me begin with a quotation. whatever their -- wherever the right of private property exists, there must and will the inequalities of fortune. at the same time recognizing as legitimate those inequalities of fortune that are the necessary result of the exercise of those rights. since the state may not strike those rights down directly, it is not clear that they can do so indirectly. the public good requires the removal of the inequalities. so those are the words of united states supreme court in 1915 from one case involving kansas. there has never been a clear statement about the anti-
redistributionist strategy. the court issued this pronouncement, so what are we to make of this passage today? well, i am quite to offer four observations about it. -- i am going to offer four observations about it, in ascending order. any attempt to revise the judicial anti-redistribution is an attempt of a different era. so that means for committed conservatives, the subject of redistribution creates a kind of conflict, inner conflict. on the one hand, because redistribution is definitive of the liberal tax and transfer entitlement social welfare
agenda, there will be a strong agenda to oppose it. in violation of fundamental constitutional principles, as the supreme court did in 1915. on the other hand, the other error was activist, and committed conservatives are supposed to be against judicial activism, as well. so we have got two profound commitments against redistribution on one and against judicial activism on another, and it could be a war and a difficult time to choose between them. point two, the fact that that court said something does not mean it is wrong. since i am not a committed conservative, i am mercifully free of this inner conflict i described. quite the contrary, as a liberal, i believe the constitution can mean anything i wanted to be. ok, i am just kidding about that.
-- anything i want it to be. [laughter] i know i will hear about that later. there is a perfectly it cogent argument that this pre-existed that era and did not die with it, and the argument is simple. from the beginning of the republic, our courts have said that the government may not simply take froma and give -- take from a and give to b. there was one case struck down. governmental transfer i just that basis. 1798, justice chase said a prohibition was among the great first principles, although he said that provision was no set forth in the constitution. this continued to hold.
they can sing so into the 20th century. well, what is redistribution if not taking from a and giving to b on a massive scale? -- they continue to do so into the 20th century. -- they continued. maybe it's redistributive programs are unconstitutional a couple hundred million times river -- maybe redistributive programs are unconstitutional a couple hundred million times over. the government can take from a and give to b. there are other measures, including a progressive taxation, and most intimate programs could be said to be unconstitutional from the get- go.
prof. epstein made this argument or one like it 25 years ago in his excellent book "takings." it does not prove it is wrong. the argument that you cannot take from a and give to b needs to be taken seriously. social welfare entitlement programs do not take property from a and give it to b. remember i said the arguments were going to increase in order of controversy reality? well, i am getting to the point where that is going to happen -- in order of controversy halladay -- in order of controversiality. i will be arguing redistribution
just does not exist. there is no such thing. it is a figment of imagination. you can be opposed to it, but it is like being opposed to witchcraft. [laughter] now, the argument i am going to make for this is not tricky or fancy. it is simple. let's begin with the symbol hypotheticals. -- a simple hypothetical. let's say they're talking a public land, and there is a process that the government awards and contract company to a, but the rights include an express a stipulation, that every five trees felled by a, one tree go to the government to be given to a social program, and that was part of the bid. now, a goes in there and takes
500 trees, and the government comes in and says, "ok, we are going to take our 100." and a gets upset. what are you going to say? i assume most of us will not agree with a. there is redistribution here, the distribution of trees, when the government goes and takes its 100 trees, but not in the sense of wealth as the anti- redistributionist is claiming, because a never had any right to all of the trees, only 400 trees. in a real case of redistribution, trees are on public property. i said the trees were on public land. that is what makes it a simple
case. they were the government's trees. it has got to be different, does it not? it has got to be different when the government reaches in and takes privately owned land and redistributes it? well, it may be, but the targets of classic anti-redistribution is very little different than the case of these trees. why is that? let's take intellectual property. let's say someone has written a novel, called "harry potter and the philosopher's stone," or whatever their original title was. it turns out to do well and makes money. more important, the sequel to the novel and the movie versions, the whole series, it happens to be worth over $1 billion.
just one question. who has the right to produce these sequels? is the author, or can it be anyone who has the right to do that? the answer under our law is the exclusive right to produce these sequels belongs to the author, the exclusive right. anybody else tries to write an unauthorized sequel, she can go and try to stop it. if someone wants to go and try to make a movie, she can go and have its stock. she alone has the right to do all of that. -- and hackett stopped. how did she get that right? -- and have it stopped. it used to be that anyone could write a falwell novel using the same characters. it used to be that anybody could transpose an existing story into a brand new medium, such as stage and screen. to be sure, there are always
those who have said the authors have these rights as a natural law. there was one that justice holmes said the constitution did not enact. but i am prepared to grant that authors have natural law rights to their work. i will grant that. i liked the idea a lot, in fact, being an author myself. sadly, nobody tells me of where the address is of the natural course that is going to address these natural rights, and i can only seem to find real courts that it forced real law, and that is what makes the authors' rights valuable to enforce them. it is positive law that gives authors their billion dollar copyrights', and it creates incentives -- there billion dollar copyright's -- their billion dollar copyrights.
it includes an express stipulation saying that 20% of the income goes to was, like the trees. it goes to was to spend on whatever programs we like, including food stamps, pick your intent in the program, whatever it is. -- pick your entitlement program, whatever it is. 20%. there is an outrage. taking from a and giving to b. what do you say to that? the government has put its tax code in one statute book and its copyright law in another book. if that is the case, it will be a pretty easy one to solve. the author never had all of the
right to all the derivative rights, not from the beginning, and that is why there is no redistribution in this case. now, at this point, some of you and the audience may be starting to get a little nervous, but the least you can say it cannot apply to real land, real tangible lands, this argument. well, i would say you are right to start to get nervous. it applies to all property, this argument. you are buying a condominium in new york city. you know what the taxes are going to be on that. you are well of it when you go to buy it. i am talking that taxes when you resell it, transfer taxes, taxes when you read it out. you know what they are look at you will pay a high premium. -- when you rent it out. ok. so -- [laughter] i know what he wants me to wind
it up, but -- [laughter] sergey factor this prices into your prize, and the government comes to ask for its share -- so you factor these prices into your prizce. i do not think you can. i do not think you have a right to all of the income. you're just like the logging company. now, that is right, and there is no redistribution. there is no redistribution in cases of statin progressive taxation, liberal tax and transfer -- no redistribution in cases of standard progressive taxation. since there is a gentleman standing just to my left, i think i will hold off what i am wanting to say about that. [laughter] [applause]
but, of course, happy to take questions, as any academic would be. [laughter] >> i am going to try to limit the time so we can really get into it, and richard epstein is a visiting professor at nyu. he is a distinguished professor of law at the university of chicago, where he has taught since 1972. he is a senior fellow at the hoover institution, and i will not go through all of the different things he had done, but i cannot resist this, my standard introduction of prof. epstein. he has taught courses in civil procedure, communications, constitutional law, contracts, legal history, labor law,
property, real estate development, finance, jurisprudence, labor law, land use, patents, corporate taxation, roman law, tort, compensation, and, richard, if you want a shorter introduction next time, you will have to list the corsa as you have not taught rather than the ones you have. come up here. [applause] >> actually, you missed the antitrust and environmental law and a couple of others, but nobody really cares about all of that. when i listened to jed, i became thankful that i was not a member of the yale law school faculty. i went to the and later go into the topic, which is redistribution. -- i want to later go into the topic, which is redistribution. collective bargaining
agreements. there was a supreme court case decided that essentially validated progressive taxation, so the basic theory that the old courthouse was not one that was crudely anti-redistributive. in the way that they viewed the quarter was quite different from the way that jed rubenfeld. they thought the state would have power to protect them, rather than coming from above, because if you come from above, redistribution is just a power. the reason this is so difficult is that people do not believe that, and we all think that first possession is the way in which you acquire external things. you do not have to do anything particular in order to apply the right to use your own labor, so the question is, given this
particular theory, why do people think that redistribution is, a, an interesting topic and a hard topic, and the way i think you set up a discussion is far from the facts we do not know what the term means, we all know exactly why there is a case or redistribution, and then the issue is whether or not the moral case can survive the practical difficulties that stand in the path of the implementation, and what is the moral case? essentially, we assumed people acquire a property through either occupation or through purchase. the differential that we will refer to by justice pitney in the kansas case is the direct correlation of an early interpretation of another, for example, better stated, i daresay, so you have all of that going on, and then when you do is you look around and ask if there is a way where we can make a social improvement in this if it turns out that some people are way down at the bottom and others are way at the top, and
there is the case or redistribution by treating it simply as a technical logarithmic function. other people said, no, redistribution is important, because if i have a lot, and you have very little, we can see a very powerful social improvement that takes place if we transfer some wealth from those who have it and can live and give it to somebody else, and the hope is that from that kind of improvement, we can make the world a better and more powerful place, and i have never seen anybody come forward and say, yeah, this whole idea is just a terrible that we ought to ban it from our moral and from our political discourse. i have heard on occasions people make the economic argument that there are no interpersonal comparisons of utility. you can figure out what is going on, and so, therefore, you can never be sure when you have recourse to transfer of wealth from one party to another that you have made some kind of
social improvement, but that argument to my mind actually proves too much, he because if you go round and look at behavior, what you discover consistently and persistently is that you also have an extremely strong tradition of voluntary redistribution from those who had wealth to those who needed it, and this was not regarded generally speaking as simply a kind of naked preference, like i prefer strawberries to pistachio ice cream. it was viewed as a moral obligation or in private legal opposition -- or private obligation. it was not an optional thing. i think the reason why the redistribution question turns out to be as difficult as it is is that if people accept this particular freeware, they are then going to ask the question, if we can do this voluntarily and understand why it is going to be done, why we did do it politically to the event that we think that the amount of voluntary transfers are going to
be insufficient in order to carry the day and get us to the point that we would like to be. so the next question that you have to ask is can we take in more in tuition and transfer it into a say a legal obligation? and this, i think, is where the problems start to begin, but i am going to treat them as problems rather than to knock out blows. i want to express with the difficulties are and how i think you ought to organize this, so i will come up with a progressive program, which i sometimes put under the label of redistribution last, and what i mean by that is your first task in trying to create social order is to handle? the problem of poverty through production and the increase of wealth. once you do that, there will be those who are laggards, but if you can increase the size of the pie, you can increase voluntary contributions to solve the problem, or if not, if you can increase the size of the pot, he will put less strain on the system when it comes to
redistribution, -- you will put less strain on the system. it means you cannot take off of the table. you sort of have to put it at the back of the table. i think the first one you have to ask is what is the optimum level of redistribution, and what is the metric you're going to use to solve it? people in favor of progressive taxation, there is always one thing that needs to be filled. how is it to be? i am a great defender of the flat tax, but i will not even talk about that here -- [laughter] if you're trying to talk about progressivity, if it is a slight progression, it does not get too much, and if it is steep, there is a general tolling of incentives on the other. even further, the moment you let the tilt of the statue to go into play, there are going to be vast political forces try to increase it or reduce it, and you run the danger about pretax
structure you like that it will make most of the gains, and you also have the incentive effects that take place if redistribution does take place. there will be less incentives produced by those who will be forced to make the distribution and less by each getting it, each devoted their resources to the conflict between the parties rather than moving things up between each devoting their resources to the conflict. -- each devoting their resources to the conflict between the parties rather than moving things up. and then, the second thing you have to worry about is a technical matter. it is exactly how you measure the base from which the redistribution is going to take place. on one of the common statements, for example, $250,000 a year.
that may be rich if you live in a city in kansas, but it does not get too far in new york city. secondly, when you start looking at 12, is a very bad measure of what people have, income, so there are doctors to make a certain amount of money, but they have accumulated debt, and they were going to pay off their debt with accumulated earnings -- when you start looking at it, it is a very bad measure of what people have, income. trying to run income averaging against this is not going to deal with the problem of indebtedness. you have got a lot of technical issues with this thing that i think will slow you down. taking this one step further, how do you know you are going to be on the kind of redistribution which makes sense, which is to
take advantage of the diminishing marginal utility of wealth and create a system in which to transfer from those you have to those who have not, and what i am referring to hear more generically as the entire system of public choice difficulties, where, in fact, redistribution often goes in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons. one of the reasons i have been such a strong defender of that case with kansas is that i think whenever you look at a whole variety of social programs, which ostensibly are adopted for other reasons, it turns out that many of them have very profound and very bad kind of we distributor of tendencies that one ought to be able to deal with, so, for example, whenever you start dealing with a monopoly-type situation from a competitive industry, there is a huge transfer of wealth that goes from the consumers to the producers. there is a reduction in consumer surplus, and there is an overall reduction in social losses.
it is the standard diagram of monopoly in the economics 101 course, anything about it that is interesting is that -- you start looking at programs engaged in a redistribution, they are oftentimes, a, wealth destructive, and, b, they are transferring it to be wrong people. when you start looking at rent- controlled, it turns out there is a huge transfer of wealth that takes place, and it often goes to people of a great privilege who you cannot pry out of their apartments on central park south even though they are only play the landlord 20 of hundred dollars a month to live there, and if you do not like that particular example, we can continue to multiplied that. the second one is the whole program of the agricultural subsidies in the united states, which can only be perceived as a horrible mistake, and these are programs of income redistribution which is designed to protect farmers against the
world price market, but when you start to do that is what happens is that people remain in the business too long, they become politically entrenched, and what they do is raise prices up to a point of inconvenience. there have been a number of studies about how these price systems worked with ebbers about administration said the only reason we have cartels -- how these price systems work with pete rosen of the administration -- with the roosevelt administration, the only reason we have cartels is -- it is not on the from workers to employers. they are knocked out of jobs in favor of those people are above the standard question, so if you just look at the recent ill considered increases in the minimum wage that have taken place of aviles three years or so, the nep affected we regrettably seat is a very high
rate of increase in the amount of teenage unemployment, particularly among members of minority groups, so what is the particular concern here? it is quite simply this. you start running these kinds of redistribution programs, and you end up and kind of a yield universe of -- a yale universe of jed rebenfeld. the only way you can oppose them in my judgment is to try to put together a coherent program that goes in exactly the opposite direction. you want to ask the question of how the government got those things to dole them out in the first place, and once you understand that those are coming from tax revenues of ordinary people, all of a sudden, it is vastly different, so essentially, when you start looking at this whole problem, i
am just going to summarized in one sentence, is that the affect you have with redistribution is quite simply the moral case is quite compelling, but the level of erosion that the principle has through legal enforcement -- smart people, when they realize how difficult this thing is, do not want to make it the centerpiece of their program. they want to see the rest of the house in order and only then turned to redistribution, so i will end on this note. -- and only then turn to redistribution. thank you. [applause] >> our third speaker is the international president of the 2 million-member service employees
international union, which is the fastest-growing union in north america. he has been hailed as a different kind of labor chief, a visionary leader, who has charted a bold new course for american unionism. he began working as a social service worker and member of the seiu local in 1973, and he rose through the ranks until he was elected president in 1996. he led seiu out of the afl-cio and found a change to win, which is a new 6 million member federation of seven major unions giving them a voice at their jobs, and, indeed, we are delighted to have you here and the forward to what you have to say. [applause]
>> good morning. where jed did you a legal perspective, and richard gay view a legal -- and richard did you a legal and moral, i understand why i did not go to law school, which is probably not the right thing to say in front of this group -- and richard gave you the legal and moral points. let me start by saying i love this country. i happen to think that america, it is a gift, and people like my grandfather came here from all over the world. all they expected was that they were going to work hard and that they would be rewarded, but what they dreamed about was that their children and grandchildren were going to lead a better life than they did. that is the unique and special
and one for american dream, and despite a civil war, two world wars, natural disasters, and many presidents, the american dream has endured, up until now. frank luntz said the other day that 70% of americans now believe that their children and grandchildren will not lead a better life than they have. that is not the america i want. that is not the america we need. and that is the discussion i think we are failing to have in our country right now. this is not our fathers' and grandfathers' economy, and for those in my economy -- my party who are longingly looking back to the days of the new deal, it is important to appreciate that we are as far away from the new deal as the new deal was from the civil war, and i am sure he admired abraham lincoln, but he did not build it around 1865, so
we are not going to build our economy around 1935. our country and the rest of the world is living through the most profound, the most significant, and most importantly, the most transformative economic revolution in the history of the world. i mean, there have only been three economic revolutions. the agricultural revolution, it took 3000 years. the industrial revolution, it took 300 years be a this revolution, and this is the third revolution as we change from an international -- it took 300 years. this revolution, this third revolution, this one is only going to take 30 years. this revolution is a civilized -- is not televised in-your-face 24/7. it is the relentless -- this revolution is televised, in- your-face, 24/7.
we can now see some of the implications that apply to redistribution. the world, as thomas friedman said, is basically flat. we now live in a global economy, where we compete not nationally but internationally. success in the third economic revolution is not about the competition when i grew up between the states in the north and the south or between business and labour or democrats and republicans. this is not even the competition any more about the old competitors in europe or south of the border. this is about the south china sea. china, as we know, has surpassed japan in size of economy. it will be the largest economy in the world, and as a side, i just want to say that i am not a finance major, do not know much about global, international finance, but when my banker has $1 trillion of my deck and a
foreign policy and ideology, i get nervous about the future of our economy -- when my banker has $1 trillion of my debt. if we do believe that the old model is capitalism, and despite what glenn beck says, i am none of the things that he has called me, capitalism -- governments created the legal and social environments in which prosperity could be broadly shared. unions actually created to share prosperity, not across sectors or cross nations, but within a firm, and then markets were seen as the best way we had to redistribute wealth, and the result of that formula is that america created the greatest middle class in the world. it was the envy of the world, and we brag about it, and then what happened? we replaced that ideology -- and we bragged about it.
there were the pure market forces, and we've evolved into a more market worshiping privatizing deregulating trickle down and union busting i have got mine, so long, sukkur philosophy. -- so long, sucker, philosophy. there was one, only one, a significant problem. actually, it was a fatal flaw. did not work. it has not worked. it did not work. and now, america is in peril because of that. americans have been growing apart, not together. goldman sachs said in 2006, profits -- profits were at a record high. it was the longest period of economic stagnation in our
history. and do not be mistaken. i do not actually support -- in fact, actually condemn the redistribution of wealth. it is the redistribution of wealth upwards that i condemn. a time of inequality has increased, as well. let me just share with you three quick things. the first graph is looking at income after tax for the top 1%. the top 1% average over $800,000 of increases in that time. the tax rate fell to its lowest level in 18 years. that was not a bad deal if you could get it. the rest of the